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Prayers of the People: Christmas Eve

God of our Salvation,
we come to you on this wondrous night to gather in praise,
to lift up your name with friend, family, and stranger.
In the beginning, your creative work began with a word,
and tonight, your creation continues with the Word made flesh.
On this holiest of nights, we join the everlasting chorus saying:
    Glory to God on highest!  Great is your name in all the earth!

Like Mary, we ponder these things in our hearts,
and wonder how you could love us so much
as to actually become one of us, one with us.
We remember these stories this evening
that remind us of your steadfast love,
that affirm that you have never, and will never, give up on your children.
    Thank you for your steadfast presence in our lives!

And yet, even on this night on which we celebrate the fulfillment of love,
we recognize that there are many who are still waiting for fulfillment:
the fulfillment of adequate food and shelter…
the fulfillment of peace and the end of violence…
the fulfillment of reprieve from the fierce grip of grief…
the fulfillment of a restoration of a broken relationship…
the fulfillment of a renewing of heart, mind, or body…
the fulfillment of healing from a chronic illness…
the fulfillment of an end to substance abuse…
Giving God,
        give us the courage to do your work in the world
and to share the peace coming to us in the manger this evening.

We pray this night especially for those who have traveled to be here…
for those who have lost loved ones in the past year…
for those who struggle with mental illness…
for those who fight alcoholism’s onslaught…
for those who will be traveling in the coming days and weeks…
for those who work on Christmas:
especially medical workers, police, and emergency personnel…
for those who cannot make it home for Christmas…
hear us we pray, O God,
    Restore us and make your face to shine that we might be saved.

In all that we do and in all that we are,
send your Spirit to send us forward with the majesty of this night
and to share the grace we find with everyone we encounter.
This we pray in the name of your Son, who taught us to pray saying:

    Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors;
and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,
for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever.  Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY

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